I’ve had more than one client say to me “I can't do X because I've wasted too much time doing Y.” Here's the deal - you have not wasted too much time doing anything.
I've actually got five reasons why you haven't wasted too much time.
Reason #1: You're learning.
You’ve spent all of this time learning, maybe in an actual classroom, but most likely out in the corporate world out in whatever type of field that you're in. You're acquiring skills, you're acquiring institutional knowledge, you are earning. That is not wasted at any point in time, anywhere.
Reason #2: You’re growing.
You’re growing as a person, with life experiences - General Life Experiences. The more life experiences you have, the more you're going to be able to bring to whatever it is that you're doing.
I don't care what it is - having more life experiences makes you a better employee. They allow you to have a wider point of view. They allow you to understand why things are done due to reasons out in the world and that is going to make you more thoughtful employee.
That is not a waste of time.
Reason #3: You're changing.
Your needs and your wants change as you grow. Most people do one thing for so long because that's what they needed and they wanted at the time and now they need and want other things. That's okay!
It doesn't mean you've wasted that prior time, it simply means that your needs and your wants have changed. For you to be a good employee, your current job needs to actually support your values, your priorities, your needs and your wants. If it's contradicting what you need and what you want and what you find important then it's not going to be a good fit for you, you’re not going to be fulfilled.
That experience of what you’re doing now is not wasted time - it's just time that you spent doing something that was important to you then that's become less important to you over time or your family has changed or your responsibilities have changed. That’s ok.
That means it is time to move on and find something that supports where you are right now.
Reason #4: You’re evolving.
You're interests are evolving. Not just your priorities but your actual interests. When you were a 10 year old girl, maybe you were super into horses it doesn't mean that you're still going to be super into horses when you're forty. Your interests change.
Maybe you were an amazing project manager because you loved those tiny little details. You loved the minute details and to tick off the boxes, but as you're getting older you're getting more life experiences, and you're starting to love the big picture strategy stuff.
Those tiny details you’re not so concerned with anymore. You want to really be involved in creating the whole big package and you want to leave the nitty-gritty to someone else. That's great. That's not a waste of time - that's evolving.
Evolving in your career is evolving as a human and that is evolving as an employee. That is not wasted time.
Reason #5: You’re aging.
I hate to remind you of this, but you're going to get older no matter what you choose to do. I had a client recently say “I can't go back to school because I'll be forty when I graduate.” Well... yeah. She's going to be 40 no matter what she decides to do. Now, she can either be a forty-year-old on track to get that really awesome job she's been wanting for 10 years or she can be 40 and still doing the job she's doing now - still being resentful and unfulfilled… and 40.
The fact that you're going to be a particular age and going to be older I think is a bullshit excuse for not doing something that you want to do. It is not wasted time, it is just how humans work.
We grow, we change, we evolve, we get older and I don't believe that it’s a waste, I think those are all advantages. In tech talk that's a feature, not a bug.
If you go about your career looking for a new job doing a career switch with the knowledge behind you that you're a bigger, better, more evolved person - not that you've wasted time - but that you've got more to give and more to bring that's going to be better than sitting around saying “Ugh, I just wasted too much time.”
There's no way you've wasted however much time it is you've got until now. No matter what you did - I don't care if you were living off the grid making friendship bracelets at the beach and selling them ... that's being an entrepreneur! That's not a waste of time it's just a different way of doing things - so don't let the idea of “wasted time” hold you back from making the decisions you want to make or doing the things you want to do.
Build your future not based on what you've been doing but what you can do.
I'd love to hear from you so pop in comments and let me know if you’ve got any questions, comments, or concerns about today's topic! If you want some one-on-one help, finding your next thing click here to book a free call.
Yours in career goodness,